Issue: April 1, 2010


In mid-March, HP held a press event in Los Angeles introducing some new workstations, including a mighty computer in a little package — the Z200 Small Form Factor. (See our news section for details on this one.)

But this two-day event was about more than just new gear; it was about partnerships and how companies are using HP technology to speed up workflow, while improving their quality and efficiency.

Studios like Raleigh are using HP’s technology in cool ways. For example, Raleigh’s Best Practices Lab, led by chairman and executive director David B. Haines, runs on HP computers and just one of the things powered by this technology is the new Impulse optical motion capture system from PhaseSpace, which is small and light enough to be portable. The demo we saw featured an animated genie and a robot being directed (by us!) in realtime using a lightweight touchscreen HP. There were two Z200s processing MotionBuilder files in the background. Impulse allows realtime tracking of up to 256 unique active markers.

Another studio taking advantage of HP’s gear is DreamWorks, which made use of this technology while making the 3D stereo film How To Train Your Dragon. HP and Dreamworks have a long history of collaboration, as chief technology officer Ed Leonard pointed out during the event. Thanks to not having to worry about what’s going on in the background, he said, artists can focus on “taking imagination and bringing it to the screen without compromise.” He added, “DreamWorks is a blend of art and science,” and HP is a big part of that.

Some of the technology they used on Dragon includes HP Z800 workstations, HP ProLiant blade servers, HP Halo Telepresence solutions, HP DreamColor displays, storage solutions and HP Designjet printers.

HP’s new Z800, Z600 and Z400 workstations feature six-core, 32nm Intel Xeon 5600 series processors, which are blazingly fast. According to Intel’s GM for workstations, Anthony Neal-Graves, “The new Intel Xeon Processor 5600 series runs multithreaded workstation applications up to 45 percent faster than its predecessor, the Intel Xeon Processor 5500 series. Workstations powered by the new Intel Xeon Processor 5600 series give application developers the reliability, capacity and performance to help them bring innovative ideas to life faster than ever before.”

For creatives, it’s all about speed, efficiency and imagination, and not having to worry about how their systems work.